Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Muddle: I Hate Winter

Seriously, I'm done with winter. Every day I report to work in long sleeves and pants, my hoodie, and my robe on top of that. When my feet turn to ice in their thick socks, I add another blanket. I live in the South. How effed up is this? I see notes in my social feeds from relatives enjoying the Florida and SoCal sunshine and I just want to &$%(#^@^$@(@!!!

To keep my mind off the miserable weather and to keep my fingers warm, I'm preparing to pull another trigger. I've finished a 5K-plus word submission to an anthology call. It is M/M fantasy, a slow but satisfying smolder, and purposefully funny. I hope for acceptance, but if not I have a Plan B for it. Crossed fingers appreciated.

If you're wondering why I'm working on so many anthology calls lately, I'll label it as therapy. I could ramble on for pages about my feelings and anxieties, but really I want to laugh again. There's some real-world sh!t that could prevent that for a while, but I won't say anything just yet. I'll say right now that I'm in a rebuilding phase at the moment. I want to have fun because I need it front and center. The idea of short fiction keeps my brain functioning, but at the same time I set aside a block to work on something longer.

My previous submission hasn't been decided yet - that call will close soon, so it could be a few weeks.


I finally finished Unfaded Glory by Sara Arden (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). Here's what I wrote in my RN Goodreads account:

Wavering between 3 and 3.5 stars on the follow-up to Return to Glory. Where Return well blended the feel of a small-town contemporary romance with the inner conflict of war-disabled hero, Unfaded reads more like an action adventure with bit of small-town sewn in. I have to admit I wasn't expecting to read a story like this. Byron has suffered emotional and physical trauma after a mission with his Ranger team, yet he's duty-bound to serve his country once more by rescuing the princess of a small, Mediterranean nation in the throes of political unrest. Reluctantly he enters a government-arranged marriage of convenience to protect Damara and eventually help her establish democracy in her homeland.

About a third or so of the story actually takes in Glory, AK, with the couple jetting from Damara's homeland to Spain and back again. It's well-written and Byron and Damara make for an engaging couple when not battling over love versus lust in their situation. I think the heaviness of the story caught me a bit off guard, but if you liked the first book in the series it's worth a read.

When I picked up the first book, what caught my eye was the heroine's profession, a baker. I like a nice small-town contemporary set near a diner or bakery or similar focal point. It wasn't the focus of the story, though. Unfaded's cover has the look of a quiet small town romance but you get an action adventure. Not a bad book, but not what I had expected.

During the Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event at Katiebabs's blog, Paisley Smith wrote a nice piece on female soldiers in the US Civil War. I found it timely because I had started High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO), a novel tackling that exact topic. This is one of the few remaining non-mysteries of Rita's I have read, one that I DNF'd in college. I had been reluctant to pick it up again since some of Rita's more recent efforts disappointed me. However, I chose to include this into my 2015 reading challenges, and I'm glad I did. 

High Hearts is classic-era Rita, a great story with moments of conflict and humor, tragedy and hope. I'm encouraged to pick up her Dolley now, though I'm still burned out on mysteries in general so we'll see about those.

Presently, I'm into The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). I've only read one of Mallery's Fool's Gold books, but this is something different. It's more general fiction than romance, though the triad-plot has elements of romance threaded into it. The "girls" represent a specific decade and marital situation (thirties and struggling in marriage; forties and dating; fifties and facing the future), and it's engrossing so far.

While this is all going on, I have a novella to write for an imprint invitation. More on that later.

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